May 30, 2011

Cookout King: Cucumber Mint Salad

I have long suspected that the cucumber might be the perfect food. Crunchy, cool, and distinct, cucumbers are wonderful as both part and whole of innumerable summer drinks (like this Peach Cooler from my main woman Gwyneth) and dishes (like the classic Cucumber Sandwich). Plus, I respect that, as a vegetable in fruit clothing, the cucumber is the drag queen of the produce world.

Now that the produce has started overflowing from farmstands up and down the Carolina coast, I've been keeping a constant supply of cucumbers in the house for salads, soups, salsas, and even spa water.

One of my favorite summer salads is as simple as cucumber, onion, mint, dill, and a little dressing. It's flavorful and refreshing enough to stand up to grilled meat at dinnertime, and it also makes a great little lunch when late-summer temperatures reach the point where the thought of cooking anything starts to induce panic.

But the best part? It's a fantastic salad to bring to a cookout because it seems really fancy, but it couldn't be simpler. Your friends and family will think you're one of those gourmet people, and your secret will be safe with me (and, y'know, the internet).

Cucumber Mint Salad

  • Two cucumbers
  • One bunch of fresh mint
  • 1/2 a sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash and roughly chop the mint, and dice the onion.

2. Lazily peel the cucumbers, then seed and chop them into bite-size pieces. While you can remove all of the peel, I think that leaving some on makes the salad prettier (and more nutritious).

 3. Toss the cucumber, mint, onion, dill, oil, and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, and either serve immediately or refrigerate. The salad will keep for a few days, but the cukes definitely lose their crunch the longer they sit, so I recommend eating the salad soon after making it.

I'd like to offer one recommendation, based on a recent experience. Before you bring this salad to someone's cookout, find out what else will be served. If a host is planning on serving grilled chicken and steak fajitas, for example, I learned that the whole Mediterranean flavor profile of a Cucumber Mint Salad is not necessarily the best accompaniment. Was it uncomfortable when no one (not even the hostess) took any? Well, yes. Was it even more uncomfortable when T loudly thanked me for bringing such a greaaat side, thinking that it would help diffuse the awkwardness? Well, yes.

No comments:

Post a Comment